How to Change the Name on Your U.S. Passport?

A passport is one of the primary identifying documents a person can have when travelling. But the primary way to identify anyone, before any documents, is by their name. What happens with one’s passport when one changes their name?

American passport

Table of contents

Is my passport still valid after a name change?

Generally, you will have a document proving it when you have gone through the legal process for a first name or family name change, whether due to marriage, divorce, or other reasons. Using this document, you can prove your name even though it does not match the passport. This way, your passport can still be valid even though you have changed your name or surname, as long as the passport itself has not expired.

However, it may be helpful to have your name changed on your passport, too, especially when you are actively using it to travel abroad, as carrying name-change documents can be a hassle.

Do I have to change my maiden name on my passport?

The main question here is whether it is suggested or required to change your maiden name to your current one after you get married. The general rule is as we have explained above: if you do not change your name on your passport, you will need to show the document proving the legality of the name change. In this case, it is your marriage certificate.

However, some countries you enter with your passport may require that the name on your plane ticket (or other transport tickets) match your passport or other documents.

How to change your maiden name to a married name on your passport

The procedure to change your name in the USA depends on your situation:

If your passport was issued less than a year ago

Submit the following by mail:

This service is free except if you are using expedited services. This package must be sent by using USPS.

If your passport was issued more than a year ago

If you are allowed to renew using form DS-82, submit the following by mail:

If you are not eligible to renew by DS-82, you must apply in person with the DS-11 with the following documents:

If you are already using a different name but cannot prove it with legal documents

Apply in person using the following documents:

Passport name change because of marriage: required documents

The documents depend on your situation.

U.S. passport photo specifications

Here are the photo specifications that are standard for US passports:

Here is an example of a 2x2 inch photo suitable for a USA passport:

USA passport photo

U.S. online passport photo maker

As we have explained above, US travel documents' photos must follow specific requirements to be accepted. To avoid wasting time and resources, we recommend you trust the editing of your photo to a professional tool that guarantees that your photo will fully satisfy the parameters up to the subtlest details and be accepted by the embassy or consulate.

Visafoto has been processing US visas and passport pictures since 2013 with acceptance guarantee. Just upload a portrait (or even a selfie) of you taken in decent lighting, with a proper dress code, and properly posed: look straight to the camera and keep a neutral expression. Visafoto will take care of the rest.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here, and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport, or ID.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Upload photo & Continue


Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Use a selfie taken under daylight, like this one:

Passport photo original source

You will get two files from Visafoto: a digital photo for electronic applications and a template ready for printing.

Example of a USA passport photo
USA passport photo for printing

Passport name change after divorce: do I have to change my married name to my maiden name?

The rule for name changes after divorce is the same as name change after marriage: you may apply for a name change on your passport, or you can present the passport with the documental proof of your name change if it is applicable and acceptable to the relevant authorities.

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